I sit in my favorite cafe off of Taksim Square, the tear gas rolling in through the windows and I know in my heart that Recep Tayyip Erdoğan – democratically elected three times to the highest office in Turkey – is a dictator. Turkey has become a dictatorship.


At 7:30 am this morning the national Turkish police attacked the peacefully organized protestors in Taksim Square. Plain clothes policemen reportedly were in the crowd of protestors and in a lovely job of play acting threw Molotov Cocktails at their brother police… which then gave the police the excuse they needed to push into the square. Erdoğan and the AK Parti were behind this attack. The national police listen only to Erdoğan and his government.


In the past two weeks Dictator Erdoğan has refused to listen to the valid critiques of his government from peaceful protestors within Gezi Park. He has said instead that “outside forces” are trying to destroy Turkey. He has spread fear and in so doing his government has lost its authentic democratic right to rule. The only way Erdoğan and the rest of the AK Parti stay in power now is by gun point and beton and tear gas and water hose. That’s it.


For many pundits in Europe and the US, Erdoğan was the savior of their 9/11 fears. He was a safe Muslim capitalist! His regime pushed neo-liberalism. But now we clearly see that the system Erdoğan is at the top of is brutal and centered on power, power, power.


Oh, and by the way, Erdoğan is not giving up on the image of “Erdoğan.” As long as Dictator Erdoğan feels he has friends who will stand by him in Turkey Erdoğan and his AK Parti boys are not going anywhere. I foresee much blood on the streets of Turkey in the near future.


I want to be clear about something. At one point (a few months ago in fact) I was sort of an AK Parti supporter. I liked how Erdoğan and AK Parti had weakened the dictatorial Turkish army and Kemalist state structure. I thought that perhaps some magic could happen in which Erdoğan’s neo-liberalism could give Kurds their freedom and respect everyone’s right to freedom of speech. I was very, very, very, very wrong.


See how the police reacted this afternoon to a group of nearly fifty lawyers who gathered at the Istanbul Courthouse to protest this morning’s attacks on Taksim Square.

Lawyers Arrest

In Turkey no police officer can touch a lawyer unless first the police get permission from the Turkish Ministry of Justice. Did these cops get permission from the Justice Minister to attack and arrest peacefully gathered lawyers?

Arrested Lawyers on Bus

(Lawyers on bus after arrest)

My close friend, a Turkish lawyer says it is impossible to get permission to arrest such a large number of lawyers. And yet, the police went right ahead with the arrests.

Lawyer arrested

(A Turkish Lawyer after his arrest)

Inside I knew that Erdoğan and AK Parti would never give up their power. Yet it breaks my heart to see that Anatolia, the place I love as a second homeland as now a dictatorship. Yet, I remember the voices of Gezi Park. Those are the voices of enlightenment, of a third way into the future. We can see a new Turkey, a new world from what is created in that park. Long live the resistance.



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Love In Istanbul is a resident of Istanbul.

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